Halloween preparations

October 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

We all have our own rituals when preparing for a holiday. Some put up the Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving, some wait until Christmas Eve. Maybe there are TV specials or movies that you MUST watch every year. Some decorate like mad a month before Valentine’s or St. Patrick’s day. Or maybe you’re really into Americana on the 4th.

Every October, I have a canon of scary short stories that I read. It always begins with Poe, especially the Fall of the House of Usher, includes a handful of things like Sleepy Hollow, and ends with a generous portion of Blackwood and Lovecraft. But for now, let’s stick with Poe – how about The Masque of the Red Death?

André Caplet is mainly remembered for his orchestrations of the piano works of his friend, Claude Debussy, especially Clair de Lune. It’s difficult living in the shadow of such a great master; Caplet left behind a generous catalog of works in many different genres, including this gothic tone poem inspired by Poe’s short story. A classic string quartet instrumentation is greatly augmented by the harp, which makes the small ensemble sound much larger than five players.